"The PIXAR Story" (2007) is a documentary directed by Leslie Iwerks and narrated by Stacy Keach. It reveals the story of the animation studio from the very shaky start to its roaring success in the present day. It mainly focuses on the career path of John Lasseter and his experience in the Disney studios and the beginning of CG animation.
The expository nature of the documentary is perfect for the historical theme of the subject matter. As Bil Nichols says: “The primary purpose of the Expository mode is to make an argument. This is the model that is most often associated with documentary in general. The structure is grounded in a series of assertions backed up by evidence. The assertions are presented through verbal commentary from an invisible voice-over narrator, while images provide the evidence.” (Nichols, 2015)
Following all the facts and the biographies of PIXAR's creators it presents an entertaining insight into the lives and thinking behind the creators of the animation studio. The only thing that strikes the viewer is that the film is distributed by "Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures" which can only mean that the overall nature of the film is biased. Even when the documentary explains how John Lasseter was fired from Disney because they didn't know what to do with him and his fascination with CG animation, it somehow presents these dreadful events with a very positive attitude and underlines that Disney was somehow doing it for the right reasons.
As Rebecca Murray says: “All was not always happy in the land of computer generated animation. The Pixar Story traces the incredible journey Pixar’s founding fathers went through as they blazed new trails in the land of animated films.” (Murray, 2015) The documentary illustrates that very clearly and shows what an incredible achievement it is to be so successful.
Trying to decipher the key to a successful animation studio is always difficult, as Peter Debruge says: “it’s easy to mistake Pixar’s success as savvy planning on the part of Lasseter (“talented artist”), Catmull (“creative scientist”) and Jobs (“visionary entrepreneur”), but the documentary goes a long way to remind just how remarkable the meeting of these three minds proved. After all, even Lucas, who developed Pixar as the computer-graphics arm of his own filmmaking operation, decided to cut it loose before the division had revealed its true promise.” (Debruge, 2007)
The opinions in the films are constructed in a very skillful way and the main focus is always the success of PIXAR. The documentary is factual and follows the history of the animation studio step by step.
Nichols, B. (2015). Six Principal Modes of Documentary Filmmaking | Meridian Stories. [online] Meridianstories.com. Available at: http://www.meridianstories.com/media-resource-collection/creative-how-to-guides/six-principal-modes-of-documentary-filmmaking/ [Accessed 10 Nov. 2015].
Murray, R. (2015). The Pixar Story Review. [online] About.com Entertainment. Available at: http://movies.about.com/od/newmoviesandreviews/gr/pixarstry122907.htm [Accessed 10 Nov. 2015].
Debruge, P. (2007). The Pixar Story. [online] Variety. Available at: http://variety.com/2007/film/markets-festivals/the-pixar-story-1200557572/ [Accessed 10 Nov. 2015].